..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week 52 of Personal Genealogy and History - Cremation Vs. Burial

Weekly blogging prompt through GENEABLOGGERS: Week #52 – Advice Week 52. Advice. Do you have any advice for future generations who may be researching your family?

As concerning cremation versus burial...
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men. . .”

With sin came separation from God. This separation, while initially a spiritual one, affected the body, soul, and spirit. Spiritually, man lost the right to have fellowship and communion with God; he was spiritually dead. But the body also suffered in that it took on the properties of corruption, began to grow old, decay, and counted its existence in time -- culminating in death. God creates every human being and we have the very breath of God's life in us. We were made in His Image. He creates the original DNA that makes us unique and separate from every other human being. The sanctity of the human body, as made by God, is to be protected as much as it lays within our power.

There are situations where Jews/Christians' bodies are so scattered, burned or decayed as to have returned to the dust from which we were created. Things such as airplane disasters, incineration or disposal by a murderer, those drowned and eaten by sea creatures, or the total disintegration into dust by decay over time... these things do not pose a problem to God in re-assembling and re-creating our resurrected bodies. As I said earlier, God created our very DNA, the very building blocks of who we are. We are created from dust and to dust we return. I trust God, who made everything out of nothing, to sort out the molecules. So, in our belief that Jesus will return and resurrect our mortal bodies and convert them into immortal bodies, I am not afraid that my body is too disintegrated to be put back together again.

Here are some background scripture to read that discusses the origin of our earthly bodies and how they will be resurrected in the End Times when Jesus Christ returns:

Genesis 1:26-27 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth. And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.

Genesis 1: 31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.

Genesis 2: 6-7 But there went up from the earth a mist and watered all the face of the ground. And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2: 21-23 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath. And Jehovah God made the rib (which He had taken from the man) into a woman. And He brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man.

Genesis 3:19 (God speaking to Adam and Eve after they had sinned) "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return."

Genesis 18:27 And Abraham answering said, Truly, I, who am only dust, have undertaken to put my thoughts before the Lord:

Psalm 103: 13-18 As a father pities his children, Jehovah pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and its place shall know it no more. But the mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness is to sons of sons; to those who keep His covenant, and to those who remember to do His Commandments.

Ecclesiastes 12: 7 then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

Daniel 12: 1-3 And at that time Michael, the chief of the angels, shall stand up, the great ruler who stands for the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation; until that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the sky; and those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."

Resurrection Scriptures

John 5: 28-29 Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of condemnation.



Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of the One who raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised up Christ from the dead shall also make your mortal bodies alive by His Spirit who dwells in you.

1 Corinthians 15: 35-44 and 51-55 "But someone will ask, 'How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come back?'
You fool! The seed you plant does not come to life unless it dies, and what you plant is not the form that it will be, but a bare kernel, whether it is wheat or something else.
But God gives the plant the form he wants it to have, and to each kind of seed its own form.
Not all flesh is the same. Humans have one kind of flesh, animals in general have another, birds have another, and fish have still another.
There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of those in heaven is of one kind, and that of those on earth is of another.
One kind of splendor belongs to the sun, another to the moon, and still another to the stars.
In fact, one star differs from another star in splendor.
This is how it will be at the resurrection of the dead. What is planted is decaying, what is raised cannot decay.
The body is planted in dishonor but raised in splendor. It is planted in weakness but raised in power.
It is planted a physical body but raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.
...Behold, I speak a mystery to you; we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
But when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and when this mortal shall put on immortality, then will take place the word that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?'"

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which also we are looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of humiliation so that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the working of His power, even to subdue all things to Himself.

In summary, I am fully aware that God can restore our decayed or obliterated bodies and can change them back to being the immortal bodies that He always intended. Adam and Eve were created to be immortal beings but sin brought death. God will raise our bodies and make them immortal, unable to decay or die, incorruptible. When we are saved and accept Jesus as our Savior, we have this to look forward to! God breaths life into our spirit and gives our born-again spirit eternal life. When we die, our spirits go to be with God until Jesus' Second Coming. When Jesus returns, He will raise our bodies, change them to glorious, eternal bodies and our spirits shall rejoin our resurrected bodies.

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Pagan Cremation

If God can do this, even though our bodies are but dust or ashes, why have Christians traditionally chosen burial versus cremation?

Here are how old wills used to begin:
"...being in perfect health mind and memory thanks be unto almighty God and calling to mind the uncertainty of this life and the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say.
First and principally I give and recommend my soul into the hand of God that gave it and my body I commit to the Earth to be buried in a Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the day of Resurection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God. And as touching such an Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give and dispose of in the following manner..."

"In the name of God amen this second day of January seventeen hundred and ninety six I, ______________ ________________ of ________________, Planter, being very sick and weak but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to God, therefore calling to mind the mortality of any body of knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die first of all I recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors and as touching such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I dispose of in the manner and form following..."

"In the name of God Amen The twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty nine I ______________ ______________ of _____________ in calling to remembrance the Mortality of My Body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament (that is to say) Principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the general resurection I shall receive the same again by the Mighty Power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give dismise and dispose of the same inthe following manner and form..."

"I, ____________ ____________ of __________________ being very sick and low in flesh but in perfect sound mind and memory thanks be to God for the same, do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament in manner following-- to with, first of all I resign my soul in the hands of almighty God who gave it and my body to be buried in a Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named"

"In the name of God amen the fifteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five I ______________ ______________ of _________________ being within body and in perfect mind & memory, thanks be given almighty God for the same, and calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing principally and first of all I recommend once to die make and ordain this my last will and testament and that is to say principally and first of all I recommend my soul into the hands of God and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in Christian funeral at the discretion of my executors nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall revive the same again by the mighty power of almighty God and as touching such worldly estate where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give dismiss and dispense of the same in following manner and form..."

"In the name of God Amen I, _______________ ____________ of sound and disposing mind and memory but in view of the uncertainty of all human offices do make and declare this my last will and testament in this year of One thousand Eight Hundred and Nine.
Item I. I give my soul to God who gave it and my body to decently buried..."

The Israelites and, after Christ, Christians have always upheld burial as the proper way to take care of the body after death. If it is within our power, we believe in treating the body, given by God, with respect. Families who have lost loved ones, yearn to have their bodily remains returned to the family so they can be decently buried in a place where family and future family can visit. Those who have had loved ones disappear, killed in foreign wars, missing in action, etc. cannot seem to have closure until bodily remains are returned home. There was a time that the cremation of Jews during the Holocaust was considered shocking and horrible but cremation is a "fashion" now. In respect, the ovens of the Holocaust burned Jewish victims alive more often than not so I don't mean to casually refer to that. But cremation was seen as pagan and scandalous up until the last 10 years. It's shocking how casually we treat the magnificent bodies that God, Himself, created. We treat it as so much trash to be burned as though these people never existed. Where is the respect, the honor to the dead and to the One who created those bodies? Those people we loved so much, where is their respect? And where is the honor for the One who will raise them from the dead at the end of time? If at all possible, our bodies should be treated respectfully and left to God. After our body is decently interred, it is in God's Hands.



And, yet, in this day, it seems that cremation is becoming more and more popular. It's cheaper, there is no further maintenance (such as occurs when you have a buried loved one and cemeteries, tombstones and graves must be kept up), and valuable land is not lost to cemeteries so it seems to be more efficient. And, yet, traditionally, Christians are buried. Many are buried on hilltops facing the East as a symbol of their belief in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ who will then raise their mortal bodies to be changed into immortal bodies and so shall they ever be with the Lord, Amen. Some believers have been cremated out of ignorance and God knows that.

Although there is not a scripture, an 11th commandment, that says, "Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not cremate your mortal bodies upon death", there are plenty of scriptures that support burial as the proper way for Jews/Christians to dispose of their dead. Let's look at them.

First, let us see how God speaks to satan:
Ezekiel 28:18-19 (In a dialogue about the King of Tyre which most scholars agree is a type or shadow of satan, italics are mine) By the multitude of thine iniquities, in the unrighteousness of thy traffic, thou hast profaned thy sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of thee; it hath devoured thee, and I have turned thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
All they that know thee among the peoples shall be astonished at thee: thou art become a terror, and thou shalt nevermore have any being.

If we will remember our scripture, satan was created as a perfect angel of light and yet, pride made him desire to be like God. This pride caused him to sin and God tossed him out of heaven along with 1/3 of the angels who had listened to satan. This rebellion against God resulted in satan and his following angels (demons) to be forever separated from God and their end result will be forever to burn in the Lake of Fire along with any who are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life (those who have NOT accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior).

Revelation 20: 10-15 And the Devil who deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were . And he will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
And I saw a great white throne, and Him sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And a place was not found for them.
And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.
And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.

It seems that final disposition in fire is more a symbol of punishment. Let's look at some other examples of fire used as punishment.

Genesis 19: 24-25 Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from Jehovah out of the heavens.
And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Joshua 7: 14-15 (the Lord speaking to Joshua) "Tomorrow morning everyone must gather near the place of worship. You will come forward tribe by tribe, and the LORD will show which tribe is guilty. Next, the clans in that tribe must come forward, and the LORD will show which clan is guilty. The families in that clan must come, and the LORD will point out the guilty family. Finally, the men in that family must come, and the LORD will show who stole what should have been destroyed. That man must be put to death, his body burned, and his possessions thrown into the fire. He has done a terrible thing by breaking the sacred agreement that the LORD made with Israel."
...
(It was determined that it was Achan and Achan confessed) Then everyone took Achan and the things he had stolen to Trouble Valley. They also took along his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep, his tent, and everything else that belonged to him.
Joshua said, "Achan, you caused us a lot of trouble. Now the LORD is paying you back with the same kind of trouble." The people of Israel then stoned to death Achan and his family. They made a fire and burned the bodies, together with what Achan had stolen, and all his possessions. They covered the remains with a big pile of rocks, which is still there. Then the LORD stopped being angry with Israel. That's how the place came to be called Trouble Valley. (italics mine)

Deuteronomy 18:9-11 (God's commandment is that they should NOT sacrifice their child and burn them to death or cremate them unto idols) When you come to the land which Jehovah your God gives you, you shall not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who calls to the dead.

Jeremiah 19:4 The people of Judah stopped worshiping me and made this valley into a place of worship for Baal and other gods that have never helped them or their ancestors or their kings. And they have committed murder here, burning their young, innocent children as sacrifices to Baal. I have never even thought of telling you to do that.

2 Kings 16: 2-3 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do right in the sight of Jehovah his God, like David his father.
But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. Yes, and he made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom Jehovah cast out from before the sons of Israel.

Joshua 11: 10-11 And Joshua at that time turned back and took Hazor (a city), and struck its king with the sword. For Hazor formerly was the head of all those kingdoms.
And they struck every soul in it with the edge of the sword, destroying them. And he left none breathing. And he burned Hazor with fire.

Psalm 11: 6 On the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone; and a horrible tempest shall be the portion of their cup.

Psalm 21: 9 You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your presence; Jehovah will swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Psalm 97: 3 A fire goes before Him and burns up His enemies round about.

Psalm 106:18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Hosea 8: 14 Israel, I created you, but you forgot me. You and Judah built palaces and many strong cities. Now I will send fire to destroy your towns and fortresses.

Jeremiah 16: 1-4 Then again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "You are not to take a wife for yourself or have sons or daughters in this place.
For this is what the Lord has said about the sons and daughters who come to birth in this place, and about their mothers who have given them birth, and about their fathers who have given life to them in this land:
Death from evil diseases will overtake them; there will be no weeping for them and their bodies will not be put to rest; they will be like waste on the face of the earth: the sword and need of food will put an end to them; their dead bodies will be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth."

Amos 2: 1 The LORD said: "I will punish Moab for countless crimes, and I won't change my mind. They made lime from the bones of the king of Edom..."

As you can see, there are many places in the Word of God that portray fire and burning as a method of punishment. God is so holy that fire goes before Him burning up any unholy thing before Him. We are only made holy by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and that is the only thing saving us from eternal burning.

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Now let us look at the history of burial for, first the Jews, and, later, the Christians.

Abraham and Sarah are buried.
Genesis 23: 19 Now the years of Sarah's life were a hundred and twenty-seven.
And Sarah's death took place in Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan: and Abraham went into his house, weeping and sorrowing for Sarah.
And Abraham came from his dead and said to the children of Heth, I am living among you as one from a strange country: give me some land here as my property, so that I may put my dead to rest. And in answer the children of Heth said to Abraham, My lord, truly you are a great chief among us; take the best of our resting-places for your dead; not one of us will keep back from you a place where you may put your dead to rest.
And Abraham got up and gave honour to the children of Heth, the people of that land.
And he said to them, If you will let me put my dead to rest here, make a request for me to Ephron, the son of Zohar, That he will give me the hollow in the rock named Machpelah, which is his property at the end of his field; let him give it to me for its full price as a resting-place for my dead among you.

Genesis 25: 8-10 And Abraham came to his death, an old man, full of years; and he was put to rest with his people.
And Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, put him to rest in the hollow rock of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, near Mamre; The same field which Abraham got from the children of Heth: there Abraham was put to rest with Sarah, his wife.

Isaac's burial.
Genesis 35: 28-29 And Isaac was a hundred and eighty years old.
Then Isaac came to his end and was put to rest with his father's people, an old man after a long life: and Jacob and Esau, his sons, put him in his last resting-place.

The burial of Rachel.
Genesis 35: 16-20 So they went on from Beth-el; and while they were still some distance from Ephrath, the pains of birth came on Rachel and she had a hard time...
And in the hour when her life went from her for death came to her, she gave the child the name Ben-oni: but his father gave him the name of Benjamin.
So Rachel came to her end and was put to rest on the road to Ephrath which is Beth-lehem.
And Jacob put up a pillar on her resting-place; which is named, The Pillar of the resting-place of Rachel, to this day.

Jacob/Israel died in Egypt but he carefully instructed his sons to carry his remains back to Canaan and bury him with his people.
Genesis 49: 29-33 And he gave orders to them, saying, Put me to rest with my people and with my fathers, in the hollow of the rock in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
In the rock in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham got from Ephron the Hittite, to be his resting-place.
There Abraham and Sarah his wife were put to rest, and there they put Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I put Leah to rest.
In the rock in the field which was got for a price from the people of Heth.
And when Jacob had come to the end of these words to his sons, stretching himself on his bed, he gave up his spirit, and went the way of his people.

Genesis 50:2-3 And Joseph gave orders to his servants who had the necessary knowledge, to make his father's body ready, folding it in linen with spices, and they did so.
And the forty days needed for making the body ready went by: and there was weeping for him among the Egyptians for seventy days.

Genesis 50: 12-14 So his sons did as he had given them orders to do:
For they took him into the land of Canaan and put him to rest in the hollow rock in the field of Machpelah, which Abraham got with the field, for a resting-place, from Ephron the Hittite at Mamre.
And when his father had been put to rest, Joseph and his brothers and all who had gone with him, went back to Egypt.

Joseph's remains were carried back to Canaan for burial.
Joshua 24: 32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had taken up from Egypt, they put in the earth in Shechem, in the property which Jacob had got from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred shekels: and they became the heritage of the children of Joseph.

Miriam, Moses' sister, is buried.
Numbers 20: 1 In the first month all the children of Israel came into the waste land of Zin, and put up their tents in Kadesh; there death came to Miriam, and they put her body to rest in the earth.

Joshua is buried.
Joshua 24: 29 Now after these things, the death of Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, took place, he being then a hundred and ten years old.
And they put his body in the earth in the land of his heritage in Timnath-serah, in the hill-country of Ephraim, to the north of Mount Gaash.

2 Chronicles 32: 33 So (King) Hezekiah went to rest with his fathers, and they put his body into the higher part of the resting-places of the sons of David: and all Judah and the people of Jerusalem gave him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son became king in his place.

Saul had been chosen by God to be the Israelites first king. But, King Saul, disobeyed and turned away from God. He and his sons were killed in battle and the Philistines mutilated and displayed their bodies on poles. Cremation was only practiced in unusual circumstances, as in the case of Saul's and his sons' mutilated, headless bodies, where regular burial was impossible and there was a possibility of the Philistines coming and mutilating them still more. However, the bones were not burned but buried.
1 Samuel 31: 11-13 And when they heard about it, the people of Jabesh-gilead, what the Philistines had done to Saul, then all the brave men arose, and they traveled all night. And they took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burned them there.
And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh. And they fasted seven days.

Burial of King David.
Chronicles 29: 28 And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor. And Solomon his son reigned in his place.

His exact place of burial is unknown today but his tomb, which became the general sepulchre of the kings of Judah, was pointed out in the latest times of the Jewish people. The edifice was known at the times of the Crusades as being on the southern hill of modern Jerusalem commonly called Mount Zion

Nehemiah 3: 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Beth-zur, repaired across from the tombs of David, and to the pool that was made, and to the house of the mighty men.

Act 2:29 "Men, brothers, it is permitted to say to you with plainness as to the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day."

Burying the dead after battle with Gog. Even enemies received burial.
Ezekiel 38:2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn Gog, that wicked ruler of the kingdoms of Meshech and Tubal in the land of Magog. Tell him: "I, the LORD God, am your enemy,...
Ezekiel 39: 11-16 After Gog has been destroyed, I will bury him and his army in Israel, in Travelers' Valley, east of the Dead Sea. That graveyard will be so large that it will block the way of anyone who tries to walk through the valley, which will then be known as "The Valley of Gog's Army."
The Israelites will spend seven months burying dead bodies and cleaning up their land.
Everyone will help with the burial, and they will be honored for this on the day the brightness of my glory is seen.
After those seven months, the people will appoint a group of men to look for any dead bodies left unburied. This must be done for seven months to make sure that the land is no longer unclean.
Whenever they find a human bone, they will set up a marker next to it. Then the gravediggers will bury it in "The Valley of Gog's Army" near the town of "Gog's Army." After that, the land will be pure again.

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Even criminals received burial according to the Jewish Laws given by God.
Deuteronomy 21: 22-23 If a criminal is put to death, and you hang the dead body on a tree, you must not let it hang there overnight. Bury it the same day, because the dead body of a criminal will bring God's curse on the land. The LORD your God is giving this land to you, so don't make it unclean by leaving the bodies of executed criminals on display.

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Any lack of proper burial is still regarded as an indignity, even punishment by God. It was seen as the greatest distress that can befall a person.
Jeremiah 15: 3-4 I will punish you in four different ways: You will be killed in war and your bodies dragged off by dogs, your flesh will be eaten by birds, and your bones will be chewed on by wild animals.
This punishment will happen because of the horrible things your King Manasseh did.



2 Kings 9:30-37 Jehu headed toward Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard he was coming, she put on eye shadow and brushed her hair. Then she stood at the window, waiting for him to arrive.
As he walked through the city gate, she shouted down to him, "Why did you come here, you murderer? To kill the king? You're no better than Zimri!"
He looked up toward the window and asked, "Is anyone up there on my side?" A few palace workers stuck their heads out of a window, and Jehu shouted, "Throw her out the window!" They threw her down, and her blood splattered on the walls and on the horses that trampled her body.
Jehu left to get something to eat and drink. Then he told some workers, "Even though she was evil, she was a king's daughter, so make sure she has a proper burial."
But when they went out to bury her body, they found only her skull, her hands, and her feet.
They reported this to Jehu, and he said, "The LORD told Elijah the prophet that Jezebel's body would be eaten by dogs right here in Jezreel.
And he warned that her bones would be spread all over the ground like manure, so that no one could tell who it was."

"For a corpse to remain unburied and become food for beasts of prey was the climax of indignity or judgment (2 Samuel 21: 10, 2 Samuel 21: 11; 1 Kings 13: 22; 1Kings 14: 11; 1 Kings 16: 4; 1Kings 21: 24; 2Kings 9: 37; Jeremiah 7: 33; Jeremiah 8: 1; Ezekiel 29: 5; Psalm 79: 3; Revelation 11:9), and uncovered blood cried for vengeance (Ezekiel 24: 6; Ezekiel 39: 11-16)..." International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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Now, we look at how profane it was to disturb the graves and remains of the dead.

2 Kings 23: 16-18 And as Josiah turned, he spied the tombs which were there in the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs, and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the Word of Jehovah which the man of God had proclaimed, who spoke these words. And he said, What monument is that which I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the grave of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the altar of Bethel. And he said, Let him alone; let no one move his bones. And they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria.

Jeremiah 8: 1-2 At that time, says Jehovah, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of its rulers, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem, out of their graves. And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of the heavens, whom they have loved and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshiped. They shall not be gathered nor buried; they shall be as dung on the face of the earth.

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In all things we strive to follow the steps of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We try to imitate His example. The term, "Christian", means little Christs. We are His followers, we believe in Him, we are His disciples. We must ask ourselves, "How was Jesus' body treated after it was taken down from the cross?"

His body was treated with respect. Joseph of Arimathea offered to give his own tomb to place Jesus' body. His body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in clean linens, spices were placed around him and he was sealed in Joseph's tomb. After the Jewish Sabbath, the women, who had followed Him, came back to anoint his body with oil and to carefully wrap His body in spices and linen. But He had risen from the dead. His linen wrappings were carefully folded and left in the empty tomb.

John 19: 38-42 Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus' disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.
Nicodemus also came with about seventy-five pounds of spices made from myrrh and aloes. This was the same Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night.
The two men wrapped the body in a linen cloth, together with the spices, which was how the Jewish people buried their dead.
In the place where Jesus had been nailed to a cross, there was a garden with a tomb that had never been used.
The tomb was nearby, and since it was the time to prepare for the Sabbath, they were in a hurry to put Jesus' body there.

John 20: 1-8 On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus' favorite disciple and said, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We don't know where they have put him."
Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first.
He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in.
When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth.
He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus' face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself.
The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed.
Now to look at a few last things about how we should treat our dead.

If we follow Jesus by participating in the Lord's Supper, repeating the Lord's Prayer, being baptized, following His teachings, then we should be willing to follow Him in the dispensation of His body before it was resurrected.

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Now I will cover just a few last things about this subject.

The rapidity of decomposition in the hot Middle East, and the uncleanness associated with a dead body according to the Jewish Law, made immediate interment necessary. As a genealogist I was amazed at the practise of burying the dead the day after death. This seemed to be the practise up until the middle of the last century. I'm sure it was because of the lack of embalming like they can do today. Today, we take a few days before we bury them. It's the custom for white Southerners to bury someone on the 2nd day after death. I believe the custom is different for the black Southerners who may take a few more days. In some places it's to allow people who live out of town to get back home in time for the funeral.


A napkin was bound around the head, and linen bandages wound round the body (John 11:44; John 19: 40, Mark 14: 8). Costly spices were wrapped up in the linen swathes round the corpse, and also were burnt at the funeral (2 Chronicles 16: 14); so Nicodemus honored Jesus with 100 pounds weight of "myrrh and aloes." This mixture of myrrh and aloes together was a very large quantity, and very expensive in honour and respect to Him. By this they showed the value they had for His person. Myrrh was one of the principal spices in the anointing oil and holy perfume. Christ's garments are said to smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia in Psalm 45: 8. This is comparable to our embalming practises today.

"In conformity to this example, we ought to have regard to the dead bodies of Christians; not to enshrine and adore their relics, no, not those of the most eminent saints and martyrs (nothing like that was done to the dead body of Christ himself), but carefully to deposit them, the dust in the dust, as those who believe that the dead bodies of the saints are still united to Christ and designed for glory and immortality at the last day. The resurrection of the saints will be in virtue of Christ's resurrection, and therefore in burying them we should have an eye to Christ's burial, for he, being dead, thus speaketh. Thy dead men shall live, Isaiah 26: 19. In burying our dead it is not necessary that in all circumstances we imitate the burial of Christ, as if we must be buried in linen, and in a garden, and be embalmed as he was; but his being buried after the manner of the Jews teaches us that in things of this nature we should conform to the usages of the country where we live, except in those that are superstitious." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on John 19: 39, italics his)

Mark 14: 3-9 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He reclined, a woman came with an alabaster vial of pure, costly ointment of spikenard. And she broke the vial and poured it on His head.
And some were indignant to themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and be given to the poor. And they were incensed with her.
And Jesus said, Let her alone! Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work towards Me.
For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you desire you may do them good. But you do not have Me always.
She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for the burying.
Truly I say to you, Wherever this gospel shall be proclaimed in all the world, this also that she has done will be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Alabaster was thought to hold such precious perfumes and ointments without it allowing any decay of the contents. It would have been a sealed box and she probably "broke" the seal rather than the entire box. She may have dropped the box to loosen the seal and then poured the contents upon her Savior. She would have scraped all the ointment out so none was left. In her way, she was giving liberally, extravagantly... "The costliness of Mary's offering, (300 pence = $45), may best be seen from the fact that a penny, (denarius, 15 to 17 cents), was, in those days, the day-wages of a laborer (Matthew 20: 2)." - Smith's Bible Dictionary. A token of the highest respect. Where there is true love for Jesus Christ, nothing is too good to bestow upon him. But, in those days, it was not unusual for people to begin, during their lifetimes, preparing for their deaths. Much as we buy life insurance, purchase burial plots, make funeral arrangements ahead of time. Mary would have had this on hand for her own burial but she, instead, used it to anoint Jesus. She was giving her very best and something that meant a lot to her. It was a sacrifice, a gift that cost her. She was anointing Him as her sovereign king and she gave Him her tears and kisses as a sign of love and allegiance. She may or may not have had a word from God that Jesus would die soon. But, consciously or unconsciously, she was doing this prophetically. Jesus would die soon and she would not be there to anoint and prepare His body upon His death. Jesus recognized all of this.

To get back to our discussion...the point is that Joseph and Nicodemus had a tomb and burial spices on hand for their own use, but they busied themselves with using their resources for Jesus. While Joseph went to beg Pilate for Jesus' body, Nicodemus was going home to gather his own burial spices. He and his servants met Joseph and the mourners at the graveyard and they positioned Jesus body in the tomb and sealed it.

In those days hired mourners would weep and wail.

There would be shrill pipes which increased the sound of wailings for the dead (Matthew 9: 23; Jeremiah 9: 17; 2 Chronicles 35: 25). It was a way of announcing the death to the close knit community much as we do with newspaper obituaries, calling friends, and having the greeting before the actual funeral.

They didn't use coffins in those ancient days. Those who were wealthy used sarcophagi and had their own private family tombs.



They began as natural caves in which niches were carved and the dead laid in these niches. The mouth of the caves were sealed with a rock. Later, handhewn tombs were dug. We've all heard of the catacombs under Rome.

Loved ones would often dress in "sack cloth" and put ashes on their heads as a sign of mourning.

When they were in utter despair, there were more than just a few ashes, but later it became a smudge of ashes on the forehead.

Much like those who wore black or a black armband for a certain time period to honor the dead. We don't do that much any more.

The body, without any coffin, was carried to burial on a bier (Luke 7: 12). Much like we carry the dead in the back of the funeral car to the cemetery.










After burial the funeral feast followed (Jeremiah 16: 6-8) like we have receptions and meals at the family's home. Churches today have committees who take food and drink to the homes of the bereaved in the congregation so the family doesn't have to worry about cooking and cleaning during their time of bereavement. It's their way of ministering to a hurting family.

Many times, after the body has had time to decay, the bones were collected into a stone ossuaries.

Ordinary graves were marked by the heaping of crude stones, but hewn stones and sometimes costly pillars were set up as memorials of the dead (Ezekiel 39: 15; 2 Kings 23: 17) much like we set up tombstones today. As a genealogist, I wonder about those who are cremated and their ashes scattered. Will there be a stone or bronze memorial in a cemetery for them? I love going to cemeteries and looking for gravestones of my ancestors. Will someone, in the future, look for a tombstone that is not there? It is the longest lasting memorial someone has that he/she walked this earth. I particularly love to find a gravestone that has all the information (not just "J.Smith, 1834-1867") and has something unusual that represents the deceased such as a saying, scripture, engravings.

I hope this answers your questions about traditional Christian burial.

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